A Chief Magistrate Court at Ogba, Lagos on Monday morning sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe to six weeks imprisonment for contempt of Court in Lagos State.
Joined with the Managing Director to serve the imprisonment is the Company Secretary of the bank, Ezinwa Unuigboje.
Reports has it that it was the judgment of the Chief Magistrate, Lateef Owolabi, of the Ogba Magistrates Court in Lagos, who found them guilty of contempt and consequently sentenced them accordingly over the bank’s conduct on Monday.
The Presiding Magistrate, Lateef Owolabi, extended the same sentence to Ezinwa Unuigboje, the bank’s secretary, after finding both guilty of disobeying an order of the Court restraining the bank from allowing a judgment debtor access to his account.
Magistrate Lateef Owolabi gave the sentence sequel to a garnishee order he gave on December 6, 2022 asking 16 banks not to allow a judgment debtor, Prince Enabulele Ozaze access to his bank accounts pending the payment of N2.8 million judgment debt in suit involving the sale of a Toyota Corolla car.
Owolabi had on 6th December, 2022, issued the garnishee order for 17 banks not to grant Enabulele Ozaze, a judgement debtor, access to his bank accounts until he paid a judgement debt of N2.8 million.
Ozaze was on 13th October, 2022, ordered to refund one Jibrin Ahmed the sum of N2.8 million. This sum was money, which Ahmed had earlier paid to Ozaze for the purchase of a Toyota Corolla car.
However, two months after Ozaze failed to refund the said sum, Owolabi ordered 16 banks not to allow him transact on any account pending when he will pay the debt.
On 25th January, 2023, Ahmed told the Court via an affidavit, that Fidelity Bank had flouted the garnishee order. He showed the Court how Ozaze had been withdrawing funds from his account. He claimed that Ozaze had N3,165,759.05k in his account with Fidelity Bank as of 12th January, 2023, when the garnishee order was served.
Three days after the order was served, Ozaze withdrew N725,547.80k from the account. The following day, he transferred another N251,305.90 out of the bank.
On 17th January, Obianuju Nwosu, Zenith Bank’s legal officer, confirmed they received the garnishee order on 22nd December, 2022, and apologised to the Court for the transactions on the account.
On 18th January, the Court had ordered the Managing Director and the bank’s Secretary to appear before it to explain why they should not be sentenced to prison.
Both were absent on Monday. Owolabi ordered their immediate remand and instructed the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to effect their arrest